- The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is launching a pilot program that encourages employers to audit their pay practices and self-report any Fair Labor Standards Act violations they find, it announced March 6. The program will operate nationwide for six months.
- DOL says that the program, the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID), aims to allow parties to avoid litigation while also getting employees any back wages they're owed. Employers will be encouraged to audit their practices, flag any minimum wage or overtime violations they fine, and report them to DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
- Employers will then work with WHD to correct their errors and ensure workers are paid as quickly as possible, it said. Employers who don't make a good faith effort to comply with law, that are under investigation or are repeat offenders won't be eligible to use the program, WHD's acting administrator explained.
In an op-ed in The Hill, WHD's acting administrator touted the program as a win for both employers and employees. Employers get to avoid liquidated damages, for example, and employees get back pay that that they otherwise might not have received.
But an employee advocacy group told the Wall Street Journal that it amounts to a "get out of jail free card" for employers.
The move is consistent with the administration's message that it prefers compliance assistance over enforcement actions, but it's not exactly new. Tammy McCutchen, a former WHD administrator, said the agency previously offered this type of program and, during last year's Society for Human Resource Management employment law and legislative conference, called for its reinstatement.